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What Happens if You Violate a Restraining Order in California?

A restraining order can be issued when a person is being stalked, harassed, or otherwise harmed by another person. The contents of the protective order will vary depending on the circumstances of the unique situation, but any court-ordered protection is legally binding. To act in disregard would make you guilty of contempt. If you violate a restraining order in California you can be met with harsh consequences. A Red Bluff criminal lawyer is equipped with the experience to defend you in a restraining order violation case. Speak with a skilled lawyer today to discuss the details of your situation and begin building your defense.

What Types of Protective Orders Exist?

In California, many different types of protective orders can be given. The two main orders that are most commonly issued are a standard restraining order and a stay-away order. They both legally order a defendant to have no contact with the victim and stay a certain distance away from them. The main difference is that a restraining order is a civil order whereas a stay-away order is a criminal order. Stay-away orders typically are granted when the offender is facing charges for a violent crime.

How Can You Be Convicted of Violating a Restraining Order?

Violating the terms of a valid court-ordered restraining order is a crime under California state penal code 273.6. If you have been served with a restraining order or protective order you must abide by all of the provisions within it. Violating a restraining order is a crime so if you do not comply you could be charged and convicted.

There are a few things that a prosecutor must be able to prove in order to convict a defendant of violating a restraining order. Firstly, they must show that there was a valid court-ordered restraining order or protective order issued and they were aware of the order and its contents. After this is established it must be proven that the defendant had the ability to abide by the order but decided to willfully disobey and violate the terms.

What Are the Penalties if You Violate a Restraining Order in CA?

Because protective orders are court-ordered if you disregard the provisions you can be charged with contempt. While simply being issued a restraining order does not result in criminal charges, violating one does. The penalties can be severe depending on how the provisions were violated.

A first offense is considered a misdemeanor and can be punishable by up to one year of imprisonment, fines of up to $1,000, and a period of probation.

A second offense or a first offense that involves any kind of violence will result in a felony charge with harsher consequences. These charges can bring hefty fines and imprisonment of up to 3 years.

If you are facing misdemeanor or felony charges related to violating a restraining order, reach out to an experienced lawyer today to acquire skilled representation.